In recent years, Mozambique has made good progress in the education sector. The National Education System Law was revised in December 2018 and established a new structure for the sector, increasing mandatory (and free) education from seven to nine years.
The duration of the education cycles was restructured, reducing primary education from seven to six years, and increasing secondary education from five to six years. The law also recognizes, for the first time, preschool as a sub-sector of education, although not a requirement to enter primary.
These changes and more investment and government commitment to keep education expenditure high have led to the progress.
Yet, efficiency challenges still plaque the system. There are still almost two million primary-school-age children not attending school. More than one third of students drop out before Grade 3 and less than half complete primary, well below the average in Sub-Saharan African countries.
In upper primary, the gender gap increases, as more girls abandon school prematurely. Due to several factors including high levels of teacher absenteeism, children only have 74 out of the 190 expected school days in the year.
In terms of access, only 3.5% of children between 3 and 5 years were enrolled in preschool in 2019, but the number of students in primary education doubled between 2004 and 2018.
Aligned with the national and international development Agenda, the education sector plan (ESP) 2020-2029 aims to train ''citizens with knowledge, skills, moral, civic and patriotic values capable of contributing to the development of a cohesive society adapted to the constantly changing world”. Its three priorities are to:
- Ensure inclusion and equity in access, participation, and retention by securing all children, youth, and adults’ access to a full cycle of school readiness, primary and lower secondary education.
- Ensure the quality of learning by making sure that children, youth, and adults acquire basic literacy, numeracy, and life skills
- Ensure transparent, participatory, efficient, and effective governance by enhancing the capacities of ministry of education’s staff to enable education sector planners and managers to practice evidence-based policy and strategy.
The plan also takes into account natural disasters, which affected the implementation of the previous plan, and includes a stronger gender focus across all priorities.